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Ben Hamley

Ben is the course convenor and lead design consultant for Aiki Designs.  At various times he has worked as an environmental scientist, aikido instructor, early literacy tutor, landscaper, retail salesperson, personal assistant, writer, illustrator and starving artist.  He completed his Permaculture Design Course in 1998 (with internationally renowned teacher Geoff Lawton) while working for the Queensland Forest Research Institute and quit his job shortly after to become a Permaculture Designer and Practitioner.

He has since travelled a path which has led to modest success (and only occasionally to spectacular failure) both in Permaculture and in other pursuits.  Recently he had the honour of naming a new species of leaf-tailed gecko endemic to South-East Queensland which he discovered while working as a forest wildlife researcher in the 1990’s, and he currently also acts as administrator and webmaster for a creative arts collective.

He has travelled in India, Nepal, New Zealand and New Caledonia, but knows and loves Australia best.


Kylie Wihardjo (Smilie)

Smilie oversees our diverse research & development activities and is the Chief Juggling Officer (CJO) at Aiki designs. With a background in business, psychology, and circus arts, she brings organisational and communication skills, as well as a creative flair to the team’s projects. 

Smilie mainly collaborates with Ben to produce his ecological patterning game Permutopia. A big kid at heart, she was drawn to Permutopia’s casual yet complex gameplay. After much play testing with Ben, she decided to join the team to help develop and produce this exciting and unique board game.


Kim Lang

Kim is the Art Director for Aiki Designs and leads our education advisory group.  He designed our logo and contributed most of the infographics and illustrations in our courses.
A teacher, parent, artist and scientist of Scottish and Australian heritage, who grew up in one of the longest-running permaculture intentional communities in the world, Kim is both fluent and passionate about issues of environmental and social justice.  He has travelled in the UK, Europe and South-East Asia but currently resides in Australia, where he teaches at Brisbane’s West End State School.


Sally French


“If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need” [Marcus Tullius Cicero]

A passionate orchardist and university reference librarian, Sal combines her love of gardening and education in producing the practical exercises and assessments in this course.  She believes that gardening and permaculture contain the lessons for creating a happy and healthy world, and is keen to share this knowledge with people.

Sal was brought up in rural Queensland on dairy and cattle properties, until the family moved to Lady Elliot Island and developed one of the state’s first eco-resorts.  Sal studied biology and business at university, before deciding that librarianship catered to her need for continuous learning.

A self-taught permaculturist, Sal planted fruit trees and vegetable gardens at friends’ and rental properties for many years, until the 2011 floods resulted in acquiring her own property.  She promptly designed and planted a beautiful and productive orchard that when established will support a family of 4 with a year round supply of fruit, vegetables and eggs…  “And it has been most excellent fun”